Pickled Eggs Basic Recipe + Variations | Serving Tips & Ideas | History (2023)

How to make pickled eggs. A spicy pickled eggs recipe with balsamic and a red beet pickled eggs recipe follow.

Pickled Eggs Basic Recipe + Variations | Serving Tips & Ideas | History (1)

Red beet eggs and balsamic spicy pickled eggs.

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Read on for relevant information, step-by-step pictures and tips (3 mins).

What are Pickled Eggs?

Pickled eggs enjoy the status of a popular delicacy in Germany, other Northern European countries, Pennsylvania and several other American states.

Pickled means preserved – in brine or vinegar. In the case of eggs the origins point to brine, but later on vinegar began to be added as an additional preservative and flavoring agent.

Hard boiled eggs require a strong saline solution (brine) and from there can be flavored with different vinegars, spices and other ingredients such as garlic, onions, chiles, red cabbage etc.

Pickled Eggs Basic Recipe + Variations | Serving Tips & Ideas | History (2)

In addition to water and salt, the pickling liquid can be infused with the flavors of shallots, hot red chili pepper flakes, bay leaf, cloves, mustard seeds, beets, balsamic, apple cider vinegar, etc.

How to Make Pickled Eggs?

You can customize this basic pickled eggs recipe to your own taste. Or consider the two popular variations we present below.

Step 1. Hard boil the eggs and peel them. Use the boiling method you believe to work best or refer to ours in the recipe card. If we may suggest – be sure to cool the cooked eggs immediately, if possible in an ice bath in order to make the peeling easier.

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Step 2. Boil the water, salt, vinegar and other ingredients in order to dissolve the salt and bring the pickling liquid to temperature (must be used hot). Simmer for five minutes.

At a minimum use 1 1/2 tbsp kosher or sea salt (never iodized) to 2 cups of water (this yields about 5 % brine solution) and 2 cups of vinegar.

You can flavor the brine with whatever you’d like – from mustard seeds and peppercorns to garlic cloves, shallots and tarragon.

Step 3. Arrange the peeled eggs in a large mason jar with a wide mouth (or a similar glass container with an air tight lid). Pour the hot pickling solution over them and immediately close the lid. Refrigerate.

The eggs will be ready to enjoy after two to three days of soaking up the flavors.

Pickled Eggs Basic Recipe + Variations | Serving Tips & Ideas | History (3)

Seal the jars as soon as you pour the hot pickling liquid over the hard boiled eggs.

Pickled Beets and Eggs (aka Red Beet Eggs)

In this very well loved variation both the eggs and the beets are pickled. This could mean an extra step – if using raw beets, you need to boil, peel and slice them. When we do this we add beet juice in the brine. Alternatively, you can use canned beets and use their liquid in lieu of beet juice.

Under this method the eggs take on a gorgeous deep pink color and the earthiness of the beets acquires bright notes from the pickling liquid.

Pickled Eggs Basic Recipe + Variations | Serving Tips & Ideas | History (4)

  • All you have to do is layer cooked beet slices and hard boiled, peeled eggs in a jar, then pour the hot pickling liquid over them. Just as seen in the image grid below.

Pickled Eggs Basic Recipe + Variations | Serving Tips & Ideas | History (5)

Spicy Pickled Eggs

For heat you can use thinly sliced hot peppers such as jalapenos or serrano. Choose a compatible vinegar such as red or white wine. We love the combination of hot red pepper flakes, dark balsamic vinegar and shallots – their flavors complement each other really well.

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The eggs take on a rich brown color from the balsamic (if space is tight in the jar the spots where the eggs touched the walls or each other will remain white).

Pickled Eggs Basic Recipe + Variations | Serving Tips & Ideas | History (6)

  • To make these spicy pickled eggs arrange the peeled hard boiled eggs in a jar (you will be able to fit a couple of more relative to the version with beets).
  • Boil the water, salt, vinegar, pepper flakes, thinly sliced shallots and spices, simmer them for five minutes and pour the hot liquid over the eggs.

Pickled Eggs Basic Recipe + Variations | Serving Tips & Ideas | History (7)

How Long Do Pickled Eggs Last?

Refrigerated they can last for up to three, even four months.

How to Eat Pickled Eggs (and Twists)

There are so many ways to enjoy this delicacy – from simply seasoning the eggs with a bit of salt to slicing them in circles and assembling an open faced sandwich with some mayo and finely chopped green onions.

  • You can take bites from a whole egg, with a side of remoulade or you can present the eggs sliced in half lengthwise and top them with capers or thinly sliced onions and drizzle them with oil and vinegar, like a salad.
  • In the case of red beet eggs, serve the sliced eggs along with the beet slices. You can season with salt and pepper, perhaps a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Use your favorite deviled eggs recipe or make an egg salad with perhaps some fresh dill.
  • Mustard is an excellent condiment for these. You can either place a dab of mustard onto egg halves or use the method from the German Rhur region where they take an egg half, carefully scoop out the yolk and fill the white with spicy mustard, a bit of oil and vinegar. They then eat the egg yolk and quickly chase it with the filled white.

Pickled Eggs Basic Recipe + Variations | Serving Tips & Ideas | History (8)

Using slices of pickled shallots and a bit of Dijon mustard makes for a great garnish.

These ideas for twists on pickled eggs are worth considering:

  • In Germany it is very much the norm to pickle the eggs with the crushed shells on. Individual eggs are later peeled, right before being consumed. This is the way of choice eight out of ten times – just browse German recipes for Soleier and you’ll be convinced. Depending on what other ingredients are used in the pickling liquid this method results in an irregular, webby appearance on the whites’ surface resulting from the colored liquid reaching in through the cracked shells.
  • Add your favorite craft beer to the pickling liquid – similarly to these Beer Pickles. A balanced, citrusy IPA or a malty, sweet ale are suitable. Add the beer to the other ingredients of the pickling liquid before bringing them to boil. The alcohol and hops will help preserve the eggs. Use a 1:1:1 ratio of brine, vinegar and beer.
  • Use caraway seeds and thinly sliced garlic cloves in the pickling liquid or your favorite pickling spice.

Needless to say – pickled eggs are excellent to pair with beer, especially highly carbonated, hoppy German pilsners or malty English ales.


Similarly to other pickled foods hard boiled eggs were first preserved by necessity. In the old days in Europe, before there was refrigeration any time there was a surplus of eggs, people preserved them in brine. A strong saline solution could keep the eggs safe to eat without the need for cooling.

Later on they became very popular as bar food, usually offered on a complimentary basis. The dispute about which country originated the tradition remains unsettled. Among the main contenders are Great Britain, France, Germany…

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Nowadays pickled eggs are very much alive as a delicacy and in good health as bar food. Most GermanKneipen(pubs) and similar establishments in Britain and the Scandinavian countries offer them to bar patrons. A large jar full of them perched on a bar counter is a common sight.

Additionally the eggs are a great picnic food item and their profusion as such in Germany can be observed at most beer gardens with large grounds who allow patrons to bring their own packed picnic baskets. Soleier (as they are called) are sold in grocery stores and frequently made at home.

The hard boiled pickled egg idea was brought to the US by various immigrants from European countries. When they were first offered at American bars as a free bar snack many responded favorably and the idea took hold. There are many bars in contemporary America that pride themselves on being able to offer the snack to their customers.

Today, you can expect to find the snack in many places around the world where beer is served.

Pickled Eggs Basic Recipe + Variations | Serving Tips & Ideas | History (9)

Pickled Eggs (Spicy Balsamic or Beet Pickled)

Yield: 10

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

How to make pickled eggs and vary the basic recipe to suit your own taste preferences. Beet pickled eggs and spicy pickled eggs presented in detail.


For Beet Pickled Eggs

  • 10 eggs
  • 3 small beets (or 1 can canned beets, reserve liquid in lieu of next ingredient)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup beet juice
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 4 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • cloves, black peppercorns to taste

For Spicy Pickled Eggs

  • 10 eggs
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tbsp hot red pepper flakes (more if you want them to be really spicy)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • cloves, black peppercorns to taste


For Either Version

  1. Place the eggs in a pot and add cold water until they are submerged. Cover with a lid and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer eggs for 10 minutes.
  2. Place the cooked eggs in an ice bath (or very cold water) to cool them down. Remove the shells by starting at the flatter end.

For Beet Pickled Eggs

  1. Boil the beets until tender (about 40 mins). Cool off, peel and slice in bite-sized pieces. In a jar with wide mouth or similar container alternate layers of peeled eggs and beet slices.
  2. Alternatively, strain the beets from a can and reserve the liquid. Layer beets and eggs as described above.
  3. In a sauce pan bring water, salt, sugar, apple cider vinegar, beet juice (or reserved liquid from can), mustard seeds, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaf to boil. Simmer for five minutes.
  4. Pour the hot liquid over the peeled eggs and the beets, seal the jar and refrigerate.

For Spicy Pickled Eggs

  1. Arrange the cooked, peeled eggs in a mason jar or similar container with a wide mouth.
  2. In a sauce pan bring water, salt, balsamic vinegar, hot red pepper flakes, shallots, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaf to boil. Simmer for five minutes.
  3. Pour the hot liquid and the shallots over the peeled eggs, seal the jar and refrigerate.
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Never use iodized table salt for pickling - it is not suited for the purpose.

The amount of pickling liquid in this recipe is calibrated for ten eggs. Depending on the size of the container you are using you may have a little bit of liquid leftover (discard) or may be able to fit and completely cover a dozen of boiled eggs.

Both versions of the recipe will give you richly colored outsides, the dark pink pigment from the beets will penetrate the whites all the way through the yolks.

Pickled eggs are ready to eat within two or three days after prepared and will last refrigerated for three to four months.

With time the texture of the whites which pleasantly firms up during the initial days will become more rubbery an take on more flavor.

Nutrition information is noted based on two pickled eggs, not including beets.

Nutrition Information:

Yield: 10
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 137Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 1041mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 10gProtein: 7g

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What is the history of pickled eggs? ›

Pickled eggs were widely made and eaten by Germans as early as the mid-1700s. They were a popular food with German immigrants, especially the Hessian mercenaries fighting against Colonists during the Revolutionary War. Many early recipes come from the Pennsylvania Dutch.

When did pickled eggs originate? ›

In Germany, pickled eggs were made and eaten by German immigrants in the mid-1700s, especially the Hessian mercenaries fighting against the Colonists in the Revolutionary War.

How many times can you reuse pickle juice for pickled eggs? ›

How many times can I reuse pickle juice? To be on the safe side, we wouldn't recommend reusing it more than once, although some say you can safely reuse it 2 or 3 times. Again, watch for changes in the clarity of the brine. BONUS!

How long do eggs pickled in vinegar last? ›

Storing Eggs

Keep them refrigerated at all times. If small eggs are used, 1 to 2 weeks are usually allowed for seasoning to occur. Medium or large eggs may require 2 to 4 weeks to become well seasoned. Use the eggs within 3 to 4 months for best quality.

Where did the idea of pickling come from? ›

Pickles got their start more than 4,000 years ago, when ancient Mesopotamians began soaking cucumbers in acidic brine, as a way to preserve them. Since then, they have been a staple in cultures around the globe, renowned for their heartiness, health benefits and delicious taste.

What is the history of pickling? ›

Pickles have been around for thousands of years, dating as far back as 2030 BC when cucumbers from their native India were pickled in the Tigris Valley. The word “pickle” comes from the Dutch pekel or northern German pókel, meaning “salt” or “brine,” two very important components in the pickling process.

Why are American pickled eggs red? ›

Red pickled eggs get their color from beet juice and can also be the base for deviled eggs or sliced to serve with a salad. These beet juice pickled eggs have a bit of a sweet and sour taste.

Why do bars keep pickled eggs? ›

The pickled eggs were a feasible snack for the bars since they had longer shelf-life even without refrigeration for a few hours and were suitable for bar-like conditions. In fact, having eggs alongside drinks was also believed to induce customers to order more alcohol.

How long do pickled eggs have to sit before eating? ›

Your eggs can be eaten after only a few hours of marinating, but for best results, allow your eggs to pickle for 5-7 days, which allows that salty-vinegar brine to penetrate the eggs and produce a deeper flavor. Once they're sealed in an airtight jar, your pickled eggs will last for up to 3 months in the fridge!

How long should I leave eggs in pickle juice? ›

  1. Add the boiled eggs directly to the jar of pickle juice or put eggs and juice in a clean mason jar.
  2. Refrigerate for at least 3 days before eating. The longer the eggs are in the juice, the more pickled and flavorful they'll become.
  3. Eggs will last 3 months in the fridge.
Jun 26, 2014

Can you pickle eggs for long term storage? ›

Completely cover the eggs with the hot pickling solution, place the lid on the jar, and refrigerate immediately. Allow eggs to cure for 1 to 2 weeks for best flavor. Eggs should be eaten within 3 to 4 months.

Can you reuse the vinegar from pickled eggs? ›

So it is not a good idea to re-use the vinegar as you may bring about fermentation in the ensuing batch. Once you've eaten all the pickles, you could use the remaining vinegar to start a mayonnaise, brine a chicken, flavour a potato salad or liven up a dip.

Are pickled eggs healthy? ›

Pickled Eggs Are a Good Energy Source. In addition to the fact that pickled eggs taste good, they're also not bad for your health. For one thing, pickled eggs are rich in protein. As such, they can give you a potent energy boost that will keep you going all day!

Why do bars serve pickled eggs? ›

It is believed that the an amino acid called cysteine present in the eggs, aids the functioning of the liver and works well to prevent excessive hangovers. This is followed by the simple logic that when you're munching on something while taking a drink, it helps to mellow down the effect of the booze.

Where did pickled eggs and beets originate? ›

According to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, red-beet pickled eggs have roots in Pennsylvania Dutch cooking brought over from Europe, and early farmers in Appalachia took to them as a way to preserve foods that could be eaten months later.


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